DENVER, Sept. 9, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Like most Golden Retriever "toddlers," Bridger is an enthusiastic, unapologetic ball of energy and joy, all contained in a beautiful Golden Retriever body. And, even though he doesn't know it, he is a hero for all dogs. Bridger is a participant in Morris Animal Foundation's Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which enters its third year in September.

The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is the largest, longest and most complete study ever conducted in veterinary medicine. It will unquestionably, fundamentally change the way we understand disease in dogs.
Through owner questionnaires, veterinary exams, blood tests and genetic sequencing, the study team will learn nearly everything there is to know about each of the 3,000 Golden Retrievers in the study, and better yet, they will collect this information every year of the dogs' lives.

This level of information gathering becomes extremely relevant as the dogs age and may become sick. When one group of dogs develops a disease (cancer or diabetes, for instance), there will be another group that doesn't. With the data collected, scientists can identify the differences between the two groups' nutrition, genetics and environments, allowing them to piece together risk factors that cause dogs to develop a specific disease.

"We now have more than 1,900 dogs enrolled in the study," said David Haworth, DVM, PhD, president and CEO of Morris Animal Foundation, and Bridger's pet parent. "That is 1,900 families who hate disease in their beloved companions so much that they are willing to participate fully in this study. It is not easy, but it is so important."

The Foundation will lead this study for the next 10 to 12 years, with hope to continue to follow these dogs' puppies, and possibly their puppies, for much longer, but, of course, good science requires money. Morris Animal Foundation is working to raise that funding, and meanwhile dogs like Bridger are doing their parts—by giving of their time for the sake of all dogs.

If you would like to help Morris Animal Foundation understand cancer and other diseases in dogs or enroll your dog in the study, visit www.CanineLifetimeHealth.org.

With your help Morris Animal Foundation will work to provide a brighter, healthier future for all our furry children.

About Morris Animal Foundation:

Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that invests in science to advance animal health. The Foundation is a global leader in funding scientific studies for companion animals, horses and wildlife. Since its founding in 1948, Morris Animal Foundation has invested more than $92 million toward 2,300 studies that have led to significant breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments, preventions and cures for animals. Learn more at www.MorrisAnimalFoundation.org.

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CONTACT:Tina M. Martinez
         303.708.3418
         tmartinez@MorrisAnimalFoundation.org